Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leafs Deal Bernier to Anaheim, Ending Turbulent, Disappointing Toronto Tenure

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Leafs Deal Bernier to Anaheim, Ending Turbulent, Disappointing Toronto Tenure

Article excerpt

Leafs deal Bernier to Ducks, ending turbulent run

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TORONTO - Three years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs swung a trade with a southern California foe for a player they hoped would be their goaltender of the future.

Jonathan Bernier never met that expectation though and was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday for a conditional pick in the 2017 NHL draft.

The deal concluded a mostly turbulent tenure with the Leafs for the 27-year-old, one that saw him unable to fully ascend to the No. 1 role and meet the expectations Toronto had in dealing for the former first round pick.

Pat Brisson, Bernier's agent, said the goaltender did not request a trade from the Leafs, but was pleased for the opportunity to start fresh elsewhere.

"For me, I'm definitely very happy to (join) the Ducks," Bernier said on a conference call. "I think it's going to be a great fit for me and a new chapter."

"There's only good memories that I'll have playing in Toronto," he added.

The 11th overall pick of the 2006 draft, Bernier compiled a respectable .915 save percentage over three seasons in Toronto, his finest points coming in the first half of his first season as a Leaf.

His term was complicated by the struggles of the Leafs more generally. Formerly a homegrown member of the stingy Los Angeles Kings, Bernier was often weighed down by the poor defensive teams he played behind in Toronto.

The Leafs surrendered 36 shots per game in Bernier's first season with the club, the worst mark in the league, and nearly 34 per game a year later, the second worst tally overall.

Toronto improved last season under Mike Babcock, but Bernier failed to follow suit, quickly losing the trust of the new head coach. Bernier started the season with an ugly 0-8-1 record, finally winning his first game on Dec. 19.

That followed a brief and humbling demotion to the American Hockey League. …

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